Fresh Express Abandons Acquisition of Dole’s Packaged Salad Business

The Justice Department has raised concerns about competition in the packaged salad market.

Dole 'Italian Blend' salad in Miami, May 2012.
Dole "Italian Blend" salad in Miami, May 2012.

WASHINGTON — Fresh Express Acquisition LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited, on Thursday announced its decision to abandon its proposed $308 million acquisition of Dole plc’s Fresh Vegetables division.

The abandonment comes in response to the Justice Department's concerns about competition in the packaged salad market.

The department issued the following statement from Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Antitrust Division:

“At a time when food companies are already overcharging Americans for groceries, today’s abandonment preserves lower prices and availability for an essential kitchen staple. This merger would have reduced the number of competitors from three to two and raised grocery prices for food products that are purchased by 85% of American households. I am grateful for the tireless efforts of the Antitrust Division’s lawyers, economists, paralegals and professional staff who made this result possible.”

Packaged salad represents $3.2 billion in spending by grocers and their customers each year.

More in Supply Chain